As reported on the website of the court, the trial of the clergyman's case lasted two days under the chairmanship of Judge Alexey Chudetsky.
As Novye Izvestiya previously reported, Priest John Burdin came under trial after an anti-war sermon he read in the Church of the Resurrection of Christ in the village of Karabanovo. On the day when the Russian Orthodox Church celebrated Forgiveness Sunday, the priest was summoned to the department of internal affairs and an administrative protocol was drawn up against him under part 1 of the new article 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses.
As an illegal activity, he was charged with publishing on the parish website a link to an anti-war petition directed against the special military operation of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, as well as statements in defense of peace during a church sermon. The petition, signed by priests John Burdin and Georgy Edelstein, said:
“We Christians do not dare to stand aside when a brother kills a brother, a Christian kills a Christian. We cannot bashfully close our eyes and call black white, evil good, say that Abel was probably wrong when he provoked his older brother.
At the denunciation of one of the parishioners, the security forces accused Ioann Burdin of "discrediting the armed forces of the Russian Federation". In the protocol, they indicated that the priest allegedly instilled in the parishioners of the church “information about the presence of the RF Armed Forces in Ukraine, ongoing shelling of Ukrainian cities (Kyiv, Odessa, Kharkov, etc.), murders... of residents of Ukraine (brothers and sisters in Christ)”.
The two-day trial of the priest ended late on March 10. John Burdin was sentenced to pay a fine of 35 thousand rubles. As noted by Kostroma.News, for a priest of a small rural church, where there are very few parishioners, such an amount is very significant. According to Kostromastat, in order to earn such an amount, the average Kostroma citizen needs to work for a whole month.
Having learned about the punishment imposed by the authorities on the rector of the temple, hundreds of people began to turn to the Church of the Resurrection of Christ.
"Brothers and sisters! To date, the site of our village parish has been visited by several thousand people (more than in all previous years). Dozens of people from Russia and other countries addressed me personally with words of support. Many have begun to transfer money to pay for a possible fine (although the trial has not yet taken place and there is no decision). Many thanks! I am glad that the Light of Christ burns in the hearts of so many people. That the gospel words of love are not forgotten and have not disappeared anywhere. Christ is in our midst!” Priest John Burdin wrote on the church website.
Speaking about his attitude to the case initiated against him, the priest noted that he did not hold a grudge against the person who had reported him to the police, and explained that he could not remain silent at the sight of what was happening. He could not go against his conscience, since all Christians should observe the biblical commandment "Thou shalt not kill".
“Pretending that nothing has happened in the world is a lie before God. And any lie is obvious to him. So I said what I said. I showed myself before God, who always asks a person about who he is? Just like the man who reported me to the police did. And no one can be reproached for this, one cannot deny a person the freedom that God has given him. Yes, freedom can be a tragedy, but that’s the only way it is”, - Ioan Burdin told Novaya Gazeta journalists.
He added that, “following the requirements of the suddenly adopted law (Article 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation. Public actions aimed at discrediting the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in order to protect the interests of the Russian Federation and its citizens, maintain international peace and security) until the final decision of the court we are forced to remove from our parish website the message about the inadmissibility of the shedding of blood”.
A lot of people from all over the country were worried about the Kostroma priest, who was put on trial for preaching about peace. In less than a day, concerned citizens collected the necessary amount to pay the fine.
"Brothers and sisters! Funds have been raised to pay the fine. Thank you all very much! Christ is in our midst!” a village priest wrote on the parish website.